Structures and Advice for General Administration Documents

Dear Forum, 

Within nearly every organization there are departments or business units that have "General" Administration Document needs.

These could be anything from infrequently used templates, to notes on staff planning, budget notes and other reference materials. 

I want to avoid creating a document class for each department specifically for admin, and I want to avoid creating a General Document class called "Admin" because of the potential that it becomes a huge dumping ground for anything that a person considers admin.

Do you have any recommendations or advice? I know this is partly a training and education topic also! I just haven't found a clean and easy way to give staff this flexibility. Additionally, they are also used to freely creating structures and folders in the network. 

Many thanks!

  • Hi Jo! 

    This is a really common question, a General Document class indeed can lead you into a hazzle if users just dump everything as "General" without adding the metadata needed. On the other hand the need for a more common document class might be necessary in some cases. 

    Here are some workarounds that are used:

    1. Training, training, training - also known as Digital System Therapy in some companies :D Try to support the staff in several different ways. After this you can be sure that there won't be (as many) unnecessary General Documents:
      1. Providing easy going videos (available here: User Lite videos) or by getting the Training Subscription for the whole company
      2. Create instructions to explain the WHY behind filling Metadata on the cards, Use aspects as "Nobody will know or find documents if you don't describe the document by choosing class and properties" or "If you choose the correct class and add the according Metadata to the fields, you will be able to create a View for yourself" (and of course provide short description of what a View is and how to set up your own view. 
      3. Search for internal advocates to help you spread the word about documents classes and metadata (also search-functionalities)
    2. Create Templates
      1. The use of templates might make creating new documents easier. Add templates to be used for the different classes and create a View to make browsing easier. 
      2. Advice Users to just double-click on a template to start creating a new document of a certain class.
      3. Advice also how to Pin the document templates they use most to their personal Pinboard to have easy access to them. Or even tell them how to add the template-shortcut to their own desktop, if they are more used to start on from there (right-click on the document template and choose 'Get Hyperlink' -> Create Windows shortcut) 
    3. Create a General Document class with explanatory information
      1. Configure (or ask your M-Files contact/consultant to help out) the Metadata Card of the General Document to look different from the other ones by adding color, another icon and infoboxes/information to tell the users that this document class is ONLY for special use, not to be used in everyday documentation
      2. you might want to give instructions also how to change the class to be able to continue from that point to the right direction and you also should make the use of the classes user friendly by defining the correct metadata to be used, making necessary properties obligatory and by grouping the metadata to get a smooth feeling on the cards. 
    4. Create the General class but keep it available to only the people who need this class
      1. You can hide the document class by configuring the permission settings of it, so that only the users can see and create General Documents who really know the use cases. For this, the right way would be to create Named Access Lists which will then help you to maintain access to the document
    5. Create the General Document and just clean up once a week. Not recommended, but I've seen also this happen:
      1. Leave the General document available to everyone but make sure it has an indication (configured) of being used ONLY for specific general use cases
      2. Create a view for yourself to get a view on General documents
      3. Create an assignment to the creaters to change the document to the necessary class (this could be even automated with a workflow: Everytime a new General Document is created it generates an e-mail to the creator asking for double checking if it really is a general -class doc or maybe something else, even possible to add assignments to make it even more annoying..) 
      4. Advice your users WHY this is not a recommended class! --> Which leads you back to the 1. suggestion. 

    Would some of these bring you to a new idea?  

    Was this helpful? 

    Greetings, 

    Laura / Systems Specialist / M-Files

  • Thanks for great summary Laura!

    2c) is very interesting, need to try. In point 3), do you refer to tooltips, is different coloring of document types configurable on class level, never use it but could be useful.